Library Babel Fish

Library Babel Fish

A college librarian's take on technology

November 15, 2011 - 8:54pm
Ten years ago, Abigail Sellen and Richard Harper published a nifty book about how and why people use paper in their workplaces. The Myth of the Paperless Office reported ethnographic observations of people struggling to do things with computers that they were used to doing on paper; sometimes there were good reasons why paper was so persistent. The title reminded us that the “paperless office” we were promised decades ago is a joke - on us. We use more paper than ever and manage to have disorderly desktops both literally and digitally. That's a funny kind of progress.
November 11, 2011 - 3:00am
Today a colleague and I were feeling discouraged about the library sessions we’d been having with first year students.
November 2, 2011 - 9:30pm
I just attended THATCamp Publishing, a lively day of making and doing in classic THATcamp unconference mode. If you’re unfamiliar with THATCamp, it’s a terrific series of humanities and technology unconferences.
October 27, 2011 - 8:00pm
This weekend I’ll be attending THATCamp Publishing in Baltimore. If you’re not familiar with THATCamp, it’s a series of unconferences focused on making and doing digital humanities. And if you’re not familiar with unconferences, they are gatherings focused on a common interest that are designed to be inexpensive and organized on the fly and without a set program.
October 13, 2011 - 10:15pm
Another fascinating report has just come out from Project Information Literacy, a source of many fascinating reports. This one focuses on how students use technology during the busiest time of the semester. I love what these researchers are doing—actually talking to undergraduates about how they do research (what a concept!) rather than making assumptions.
October 4, 2011 - 8:46pm
Last week, I riffed on a controversy over a library organization restructuring that led to new positions being created, old positions being eliminated, and a handful of long-time library staff members being out of a job.
September 27, 2011 - 9:15pm
When I read “Library Limbo,” a news story about library staff members being laid off the University of San Diego, I had to resist adding a comment because I needed what preschools sometimes call a “time out.” My first responses were strong, but not measured, and in stories like this there are always layers of complexity that the best journalist in the world cannot represent.
September 22, 2011 - 6:30pm
I’m getting ready to be a panelist for Library Journal’s second virtual summit on ebooks. I have ten minutes to present some thoughts on marketing ebook collections in academic libraries. My fellow panelists will have lots to say in their ten minutes. One of the panelists is from a library that offers over a million ebooks, and we’re not talking free public domain titles. The other panelist will discuss how to cope with the various formats and digital rights management hurdles.
September 12, 2011 - 9:00pm
The book based on the Hacking the Academy project is now online and soon will be available in print from Digital Culture Books, the innovative open access imprint of the University of Michigan Press - also known as MPub. This publishing enterprise, integrated into the library and beyond, is where you should look if you want to know what the open future could look like.

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